Because raisin bran has the word "bran" in it, it's easy to automatically assume that it's a nutritious addition to your healthy eating plan. While the cereal does supply many key nutrients, once you take a closer look at how much sugar you're eating, you might reconsider having a bowl.
Raisin Bran Basics
A 1-cup serving of raisin bran contains 189 calories and 1 gram of fat. That same cup of cereal supplies 4.5 grams of protein, a nutrient necessary for muscle growth and maintenance. A cup of raisin bran also delivers 7.8 grams of fiber, which is 31 percent of the 25 grams of fiber women need each day and 21 percent of the 38 grams men should have daily. Fiber encourages normal digestion, which can lower your risk of constipation, and it also helps reduce your cholesterol levels.
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Vitamins and Minerals
You'll get 10.8 milligrams of iron in a cup of raisin bran. That's more than the 8 milligrams men need each day, and it's 60 percent of the 18 milligrams women should have every day. Iron plays a central role in energy production. A cup of raisin bran delivers 1.48 micrograms of vitamin B-12, which is about 60 percent of the 2.4 micrograms adults need each day. You'll get almost an entire day's worth of folic acid, too. Raisin bran also supplies zinc, potassium, niacin and vitamin A.
Though there are benefits to eating raisin bran, the sugar content decreases the nutritional value of the cereal. A cup of raisin bran contains 20 grams of sugar, which is equal to about 5 teaspoons. The American Heart Association recommends that women limit themselves to 6 teaspoons of sugar per day and that men limit themselves to 9 teaspoons per day. Too much sugar can cause you to gain weight, and being overweight raises your risk of heart disease and other chronic medical conditions.
So, Should I Eat Raisin Bran?
Before you make your final decision about raisin bran, consider the sodium content. A 1-cup serving contains 228 milligrams of sodium, which is 15 percent of the American Heart Association's daily 1,500-milligram limit. Eating too much sodium can cause your blood pressure to increase, and high blood pressure raises your risk of stroke and heart attack. While the occasional bowl of raisin bran is acceptable, eating it on a regular basis probably isn't the best idea.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Cereals Ready-to-Eat, POST Raisin Bran Cereal
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- American Heart Association: Added Sugars
- American Heart Association: Sodium (Salt)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Iron
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-12
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-9 (Folic Acid)